Understanding of and attitudes to organ donation and transplantation: a survey among Italian university students

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Abstract

Background

Students have a positive attitude to organ donation and transplantation, usually associated with their personal willingness to donate their organs after death. The aim of this study was to evaluate the opinions of university students on transplantation and organ donation, at a single Italian university.

Methods

University undergraduates attending the first year on five different courses in 2001 were surveyed at Padua University by using an anonymous 13-item questionnaire.

Results

97.2% of the students completed the questionnaire (77.4% females, mean age 20.4 yr); they were attending Medicine (33.8%), Agriculture (5.9%), Veterinary Medicine (11.4%), Psychology (18.5%) and Educational Sciences (30.4%). The majority was aware of the problem of the paucity of organ donations and deaths on the waiting list in Italy. Most students would accept transplantation in the case of a human donor (97%), an artificial organ (95%) or an animal donor (76%); and 87% of them were prepared to donate their own organs after death. No differences were seen when students attending science courses were compared with those attending art courses. Italian university students have a very positive attitude and willingness to donate their own organs after death, with no differences emerging as regards type of university education.

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